Spring 2024

Grilled Mackerel, Oregano and Lemon Pesto with Greek-style Butter Beans

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Serving: 2-4


4 mackerel fillets

75ml (5 tbsp) olive oil

a good bunch of oregano, about 20g (3/4oz), leaves picked and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon

a pinch of sugar, to taste

a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt flakes

a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the beans:

3 tbsp olive oil

500g (1lb 2oz) ripe vine tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste

2 x 400g (14oz) cans of butter (lima) beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1–2 tsp sugar, to taste

Maldon Sea Salt flakes

freshly ground pepper


Much as Genevieve Taylor loves fish and meat proteins, she adores pulses and try to eat them several times a week. Cheap and cheerful, a bowlful of beans is an excellent way of making your fish go a little further. Fresh oregano is one of her favourite herbs, giving a slightly floral note to this pesto-style dressing.

Here is how to make the recipe

  1. As is usual, a few hours before you want to cook, lay the mackerel fillets skin-side up on a rack over a tray and slide into the fridge to dry the skin and minimize sticking.
  2. For the pesto, pour a good 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into a bowl and stir through the chopped oregano and garlic, the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with Maldon Sea Salt and pepper and a good pinch of sugar. Spoon out a tablespoon or so into a separate small bowl ready to baste the fish, then set both bowls a side.
  3. When you are ready to cook, fire up the barbecue ready for direct grilling but leaving an area coal-free so you have room to manoeuvre if things are getting hot. Set a grill tray or cage over the fire to heat up.
  4. Once the fire has a little heat in it, start on the beans. Set a flame proof pan over the fire (it’s fine to rest the pan on the grill tray so you can heat two things at once!) and pour in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and garlic and fry for a few minutes, just until the tomatoes are softening. Add the beans and cinnamon, then season to taste with the sugar and salt and pepper. Bring up to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Take the pan off the heat and cover with a lid or foil to keep warm – they are more flavourful eaten warm rather than hot, so don’t worry too much about them cooling a little.
  5. Remove the mackerel from the fridge and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil all over the skin side, spreading it out into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle generously with Maldon Sea Salt flakes and take to the grill along with the smaller bowl of pesto and a silicone brush.
  6. Lay the fillets, skin-side down, on the hot grill tray and rest a lightly oiled weight on top to press the fillets flat, keeping the skin in maximum contact with the hot surface. After a couple of minutes, the weight will have done its job so remove it, then brush the oregano pesto over the flesh side of the fish. Cook for another couple of minutes until the skin is crisp. Use a fish slice to tease the fillets from the grill tray and rest on top of the beans. Drizzle over the rest of the pesto and tuck in.

Purchase ‘SCORCHED’ by Genevieve Taylor

Live-fire expert Genevieve Taylor covers everything you’ll ever need to know about buying and cooking all kinds of fish in her third cookbook: Scorched. From cooking whole dish, fillets, shellfish to burgers and skewers, this is the ultimate guide to barbecuing fish!

You can purchase your very own copy here, where you can become inspired with over 85 recipes and gain insight on how to set up your barbecue, sourcing your fuel and lighting your fire.

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